I was born and raised in a small town in Michigan. I met my husband, Rex when I was 21 years old and we were married two years later. Our daughter Breaha was born in 1984 and three years later we welcomed our son, Journey. While we experienced challenges typical for a young couple raising small children, I was happier than I’d ever been. Being a mom filled my heart with overwhelming joy.

A few years after Journey was born, I became certified as a childbirth assistant and slowly began building my business as a doula. I learned the value of nurturing young families during the important and often stressful time of early parenthood.  My heart was full, and I held the mistaken belief that if you loved your family enough you could protect them from darkness and pain.

Mental illness, I believed, was something that happened to other people. Something that happened to people who weren’t loved enough or suffered terrible childhoods. So, when Journey began experiencing mental health challenges during his junior year at college, I was in denial. It was a long and painful few years as I came to grips with this disease and its ability to ravage the hearts and lives of those touched by it.

Four years after Journey became symptomatic, he died. Devastated, I wondered how I would make it through the day, let alone the rest of my life without him. As I began the slow and arduous process of healing from that loss, friends, family, my faith and eventually writing were the catalysts that brought about gradual healing.

I had no idea when I began writing Journey, the transformation that was possible. I couldn’t imagine anything good and productive could come from my heartbreaking sorrow. While I would give just about anything to have had a different outcome for my son, I can see now how someone else’s pain can serve to support others.

In offering my book, Journey, it is my desire that readers may gain a deeper level of understanding about mental health, as well as traditional and alternative options for wellness. I have been surprised to learn that healing from profound loss is possible. I hope that Journey also serves as inspiration and a guidepost for those who are grieving and wish to embark on a path of transformation.